image via Tuula Vintage
Social media marketing has long been an important element in the success of major brands—for most, a proactive, well-thought through social media strategy means the difference between mass consumer renown or obscurity. Techniques may have changed with the rapid development of new and emerging social media channels, but getting the word out remains crucial. Even the best products and services will fail if no one knows about them. Since the rise and rapid proliferation of social media sharing and publishing platforms including YouTube and Instagram, there has been an intense shift in the direction of digital marketing. The newest trend? Marketing with social media stars.
Top social media stars (YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters—collectively known as social media influencers) are gaining a great deal of attention from today’s top marketing houses, due in large part to the amount of influence they hold over many different sectors of the internet. In a 2015 article published in Adweek, a study found that influencer marketing produced an average return of $6.85 for every marketing dollar spent. According to an iMedia Connection article noting the marketing differences and results between YouTube star Ryan Higa and traditional celebrity Robert Downey Jr., Google paid top YouTuber Ryan Higa $75,000 per appearance to promote products such as the company’s Nexus One smartphone (a fraction of Downey’s $12 million).
Here are 3 ways social media stars like Higa are changing how brands market across all channels online:
Any brand with a large enough advertising budget can get itself noticed. It’s a huge part of how some top brands have made it to where they are, but the digital marketing world is changing quickly. With the massive adoption and development of ad blocking software, blatant advertising techniques are no longer embraced much less recognized by the public. Online consumers and audiences don’t want to be bombarded with ads, regardless of its content nature. This is where marketing with social media influencers offers savvy brands a targeted advantage.
Because these social media stars have first built a trustworthy relationship with their followers, well-integrated and genuine product recommendations/endorsements gain much more consumer traction and brand affinity via influencer marketing than other forms of online advertising (that may seem disjunct, irrelevant, and unrelatable in comparison).
Many top social media influencers began building their audience base years ago—starting with one platform and expanding to newer and emerging social channels. As such, partnering with top influencers often presents valuable marketing touchpoints across multiple online channels. In a holiday campaign profiled by Adweek, Dick’s Sporting Goods utilized multiple social media stars to “[generate] more than 130,000 clicks to Dick’s website, 6.2 million engagements, 27.5 million impressions and 4,000 new Twitter followers.” Because these influencers cast such a wide net across the internet, they can help establish brand affinity in areas that may not otherwise get due attention via traditional marketing techniques.
Ever since YouTube came to prominence, online video has been a large part of the web-surfing experience for many people. Perhaps the result of how internet users get their information today, YouTube is now more important than ever when it comes to marketing a brand’s products and services. YouTubers are leading the way, prolifically creating video content that is both easily digestible and fun to watch—unlike many traditional brand advertisements. Creating content and marketing alongside top YouTubers can be one of the best ways to communicate a brand’s culture and vision to consumers.